A Wise Birth: Bringing Together the Best of Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine

Penny Armstrong, Author, Sheryl Feldman, With
Penny Armstrong, Author, Sheryl Feldman, With William Morrow & Company $18.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-688-09192-7
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
A thoroughly modern midwife, Armstrong attends home births among the Amish of Pennsylvania's Lancaster County equipped with a just-in-case array of instruments and drugs, oxygen and a two-way radio. Here, with writer Feldman (they also coauthored A Midwife's Story ), she considers childbirth in and out of America, arguing that high technology has adversely overwhelmed the birth process. Reviewing the pre-antisepsis history of childbirth, Armstrong and Feldman acknowledge the life-saving contributions of medicine and leading physicians; they decry the militant hostility of some midwives to the medical establishment. Yet, they suggest, the cacophonous, officious hospital setting has joined forces with the crisis- and intervention-oriented training of today's obstetricians to turn even the lowest-risk, least complicated delivery into an unnatural act--one healthful for neither mother nor child. Armstrong and Feldman are impassioned, persuasive advocates of the homelike birth center (with a hospital nearby in case of trouble), where deliveries can proceed at nature's pace with minimal interference; they include a number of moving testimonials to the wisdom of that course. Their thoughtful and well-written book should be read by any and all prospective parents. Author tour. (June)
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